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Gabriel Rotello

Gabriel Rotello

Posted: February 25, 2006 04:35 PM

Every once in a while you read something so spectacularly bone-headed and bizarre that you wonder how it made it into print.

Witness today's LA Times op-ed by Catherine Seipp, who blames the coddling of radical Islam on - ready? - women and gays.

Seipp describes how a friend recently stopped by San Francisco's City Lights bookshop and asked if they carried Orianna Fallaci's polemic against radical Islam, "The Force of Reason."

"No," snapped the clerk. "We don't carry books by fascists."

Seipp finds it strange that "a snotty San Francisco clerk" would condemn Falacci for criticizing radical Islam, "when one of the first things those poor, persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls."

She does not say why she suspects the clerk was gay. Maybe she suspects that all bookstore clerks in San Francisco are gay.

Seipp then describes a conference at USC in which a young Islamic women disputed the idea that the demonstrations against the Danish cartoons were "all that violent." Another woman "segued into a long, rambling position statement about just how little we understand the Muslim world."

From these three examples - just these three - Seipp ends her column with this mind-boggling conclusion:

"...one of the great paradoxes of our time is that two groups most endangered by political Islam, gays and women, somehow still find ways to defend it."

Seipp's great paradox - based upon these three puny examples - is itself a great example of many conservatives' ability to filter facts that conflict with their prejudices.

Consider:

Some of the groups most opposed to radical Islam are feminist groups, who lead the global campaign against practices like honor killings and female circumcision.

One of the best-known campaigners against radical Islam these days is Yale's Irshad Manji, author of "The Trouble With Islam." Manji is a lesbian. Last time I checked, that means she is both a woman and gay.

In Europe, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn rose to prominence with his uncompromising stance against radical Islam. Fortuyn was openly gay. He was also murdered.

Also in Europe, feminist Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after she collaborated with director Theo van Gogh on the film Submission, which criticized Islam's treatment of women. Van Gogh was murdered for making the film.

British gay leader Peter Tatchell of the group OutRage! Is one of the UK's foremost campaigners against radical Islam's agenda of intolerance.

In the US, gay groups like Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force consistently criticize human rights violations in Islamic countries. Indeed, the only way most people in the West are aware of atrocities like the hanging of two gay teens in Iran is through the work of gay groups. Ironically, most conservatives in the West ignore these stories.

Gay talk-radio host Michelangelo Signorile of Sirius OutQ spends a large amount of time discussing and dissecting radical Islam and interviewing reformers like Manji.

The gay blogosphere consistently reports about human rights abuses in radical Islamic regimes and against gays elsewhere. The big story this week is the one about Moscow's cancellation of a gay pride parade because of Muslim threats to attack the marchers. Most people would be unaware of these stories if not for sites like gay.com.

One of the most consistent voices warning about the dangers of radical Islam is blogger Andrew Sullivan. Another is Bruce Bawer, author of "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying The West from Within." Both of these guys are conservative - and openly and famously gay.

I could go on and on.

The point is not that women and gays stand at the forefront of enlightened and intelligent responses to radical Islamists. Women and gays are as confused about radical Islam as most people in the West.

But to write an entire op-ed in the LA Times that singles out "women and gays" as the main culprits in coddling radical Islam - and to call it "one of the greatest paradoxes of our time" - is downright bizarre.